do you work to live or live to work?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by traeh, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Mar 23, 2008

    This is kind of just a random 'blogging' of my thoughts regarding the job. Basically, during my brief 'spring break' I have had time to relax & think about some things and I've come to the conclusion that I've basically been living to work for the past 6-7 months. Thinking about planning or grading or ANYTHING school-related makes me feel uneasy/tense. However, isn't it just a job, plain and simple? I mean, I feel like I take this job way to seriously. My planning for the week is always a painstaking process because I want everything to be perfect and I always feel like 'am I doing too little.. too much?'. I've come to the realization that this is merely a PAYCHECK and yes, I'm impacting lives.. I know I know; however, it's a job that needs to be done so that I can live... not the reverse.
     
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  3. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2008

    I was just thinking the same thing today. I find myself getting worked up all the time. Non of the kids seem to care. More and more, I'm seeing that kids aren't failing because they don't understand the material or have trouble comprehending it, it's because they are just lazy and don't care. Yes, I know some kids do have trouble with the material (I'm 11th grade history here), but honestly, it doesn't seem to be the case very much. Especially when I am after school everyday, will give help all the time, and no one shows up ever (I mean, the school forces me to be after school).

    We can talk about multiple intelligences, learning styles, and all that. But I get a little tired when it comes down to the fact that 75% of my class never study for a test, can barely finish a simple worksheet for homework (I don't care sometimes if it doesn't "entertain" you, sometimes you just need to do some basic work for 10 minutes!), or that the kids moan and groan FOR ANY KIND OF ACTIVITY I DO! I like my job, I like helping the kids, I especially like when they are into lessons.

    But I'm getting tired of the frustration of approaching this as something that is more than a job. I know where you're coming from. I need to just step back and relax when I'm not in school, do the planning and what not outside but I need to get away from it. Take it seriously, my job is to educate the kids to the best of my ability. But I can't let the job consume my life too much.
     
  4. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Mar 24, 2008

    historyguy...

    I wonder sometimes.. are you & I the same person? I ditto everything you said. Especially the 75 % not studying and the LAZINESS pervading the student body nowadays. I have kids that complain about the most minute things... it drives me up a wall. In my head I'm like, 'if you would spend as much time doing the work as you do complaining, you'd be much better off.'

    However.. it's true that we can't let work consume us. That's the kid. To leave as much of it THERE at school and not drag it home / let it occupy our minds.
     
  5. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Mar 24, 2008

    I'm currently a sub... former teacher. I think about this all the time. Being a sub, I get to see alot of teachers and a ton of students. I'd say a good majority of the kids have so much more on their minds than learning. School seems to fill the time between dance class, sports pract ice and thier real lives:rolleyes:

    I wonder if all the stress that teachers go through is really worth it. I am not going to look after this summer... I'm lucky enough to have another job with flexibility and a halfway decent salary. Teaching leaves a lot of us disillusioned.

    I enjoy kids, I enjoy helping others, but I think I can do that outside of a classroom too. I am just tired of getting beat down by the apathy that seems so prevalent these days.
     
  6. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2008

    I wonder sometimes.. are you & I the same person? I ditto everything you said. Especially the 75 % not studying and the LAZINESS pervading the student body nowadays. I have kids that complain about the most minute things... it drives me up a wall. In my head I'm like, 'if you would spend as much time doing the work as you do complaining, you'd be much better off.'

    I know what you mean, I've ran into you in a few topics and you always seem to know what I'm talking about. Everyone around here is nice and I have received a lot of help (my differentiation and group work topics especially), but sometimes I don't think they know where I am coming from. Or at least if they do, we just have different attitudes haha. Maybe it's just because we are new, I dunno.

    But I physically can't continue to worry about the kids and school as much as I did months ago. It just wears me out. I need to sit down and do something else not related to school on the weekends and work when I need to. I'm going to start making a point to not talk about school outside of school anymore. If someone ever asks, I can talk their head off about any of the problems I have to go through all the time. I need to cut it out haha.

    So from now on I'm making a point to just ignore school outside of the school day and my planning time at home.
     
  7. TemperanceFaith

    TemperanceFaith Comrade

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    Mar 24, 2008

    Right now I am an Ed student, but it is taking up so much of life, that I do feel sometimes that I am living, eating and sleeping teaching. Throw in being a mom of three kids and a wife on top of it, and it gets tough some days.
    It is not something that bothers me, but it is a reality check; I know this is going to be more than a job to me. That is the point of it, especially at 42, because I have had plenty of jobs and none of them were want I wanted to be. Teaching has always been the dream.
    But I do miss being able to read a book for fun, or having a conversation that does not in some way involve teaching.
    I have a few friends that are veteran teachers, and most of them do whatever they can NOT to talk about teaching in their downtime. They laugh when I start a conversation about it.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 24, 2008

    You guys...how hopeless am I. I'm not a teacher yet. I'm a freaking AIDE and yet I just spent an ENTIRE day on getting ready for next week just so I wouldn't feel anxious for the remainder of my break. How sad is that. I feel anxious and NEED to do stuff and it isn't even my class.

    P.S. I'm getting a spa treatment and doing a yoga class on Wednesday. I wanted to be CLEAR for that. I have my college work done too. Plus I scheduled all my needed appts.
     
  9. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2008

    Yea, if there is one thing I see from all the older teachers, they never talk about teaching much. Especially when the day is done.

    That's really one thing I wanna try to get to. I feel like I talk about teaching way to much outside of school, think about it all the time, it's taking over my life haha. I'm starting to relax and back off just because it's getting to be too much.
     
  10. tomfoolery

    tomfoolery Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2008

    I've worked to live before and teaching ain't it. In fact I've seen teachers who do that and have sworn I'd quit before I ever let myself get to that point.

    As for living to work, that's not the case either. I remember questions in the teacher perceiver to determine if I had the outside interests to keep me recharged. There's a time for work and a time for play and finding that balance is a challenge. I won't claim that I've found that balance, but I am at peace doing the best I can for the kids I have with the tools and the time I have.
     
  11. Noggin

    Noggin Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2008

    I soooo agree. I'm new, too, and this job has consumed me much more than I ever imagined and even my best attempts to disentangle a bit just leave me more stressed because then I'm not 80 million percent prepared. And for what?? So they can groan and whine no matter what I do. lol Beginning to think I must be the idiot in that equation. :lol:

    And so true! I was talking to people on my campus and they said that while it can take quite a few years to truly feel consistently good at this job, that nothing will ever be as all-consuming as your first year or so. That once everything isn't new to us and we get more comfortable overall with grading and lessons and curriculum and extra-curricular and parents and discipline, etc. that it just all the sudden starts becoming second nature and it is easier. They promise I won't be sleeping, eating and breathing it anymore- and I can still be a completely engaged, great teacher. Here's hoping they aren't lying to me! :D
     
  12. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Mar 24, 2008

    public school and non-profit are very different, in preschool anyways.

    In short..my non-profit jobs have been more relaxing. I can work, but I am not consumed in my work. I think it is because I don't have to spend every last dime on office supplies and materials for my class and lessons. I don't spend my days in the dollar store and nights in Office Depot/Max/Staples..that is working to live.

    In public school, I am working to live. I seem to make less money, and constantly working paycheck to paycheck. I do not understand or appreciate union dues. I can't stand when my sub pay check doesn't show up. And you put out much more and have to wait to get it back. I go to workshops and trainings, and pay for books, and 3 to 6 months or never..I am supposed to see a stipend check and by the time I get it, you know I am spending it on something else - for my class! I hate trying to do a lesson, and I get upset and just go to the store and buy stuff I need, because the curriculum asks you to do all this garbage, and the school never has these things!

    When I work in non-profit, everything is provided for me. I never have to spend my own money for class materials or office supplies. I enjoy my breaks..and get more of them. For that reason, I am less stressed, and look forward to holidays and in-service, workshop days.

    In public school, by the time Christmas/Spring/Summer break comes along, I am sick as a dog, wore out, and barely breathing! I take 2 days to recuperate, 1 day to realize I am off, and by the time I feel like having fun, it is time to go back! :mad: Most schools have mandatory trainings and during summer break! I get anxious and upset a week before school starts. On short holidays, they are just downright irritating because the kids always come back worse since they were home or who knows where..and had longer to practice their bad habits! And we are pressured to do holiday events, performances, along with every day teaching, and that makes that last day really messy! Half the time I leave an important paper, favorite hat or lunch bag in the school for the whole break!

    needless to say...I have been burned out and just burned...

    making more and having less responsibility makes it easier to live and work! so when I find a really good job, I live to work. But, I don't spend my whole life on work!
     
  13. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Mar 25, 2008

    You need a balance

    I have been teaching 35 years or so. In the beginning, teaching CAN consume your life. But eventually you find a balance so it is not an either/or situation. Obviously we all need a job to live, but teaching, by its very nature MUST be more than a job because you have an effect on so many lives. When it becomes JUST a job, it is time to get out. On the other hand, you need to have a life outside of teaching. It does get better.

    PS: I talk about teaching, but I talk about other things too. That happens when you get enough experience behind you to have other things going on in your life to talk about. Just don't be embarrassed about talking about teaching. Unless it is all complaining, that is a good thing. People outside the profession need to see the passion many teachers have.
     
  14. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Mar 25, 2008

    I've been teaching 5 years and consider myself quite new, as I keep switching levels, and have switched schools.

    Anyway... it eventually becomes more of a balanced lifestyle. I don't stress over lesson planning anymore- almost at all, I have the ideas in my head and go with them. If I do something new it's not something I have to worry much about b/c I've experienced enough to know what works and doesn't. I do however spend a whole lot of time talking about teaching, thinking about teaching, and doing the other stuff like writing reports. You have to be passionate about teaching or it will be a miserable job because I really think it's a much harder and more time consuming job than any other I ever had.

    If you are just working to make a living, get a new job, because the pay isn't great in teaching! You have to really love it to put up with the workload, the parents, the reports and everything else.
     
  15. Chevygirl97

    Chevygirl97 Companion

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    Mar 30, 2008

    This is only my first year but I realized by December that if I continued the way I was going, I would be no good to anyone--my students, my husband, my bulldog (otherwise known as my "daughter") family, friends...

    I was making myself sick and school was all-consuming. I swore to myself that I would do the best I could in the classroom, take as little as possible home, and ENJOY my weekends and vacations!!:woot:

    Have I found a balance? Don't know. But I do feel better, the kids are better behaved & less stressed (mine really pick up and mirror me amost to an extreme) and I enjoy my job much more. My husband likes me better than he did in September when school was all I lived for!:p
     
  16. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Mar 31, 2008

    I noticed when I went to parties, the guys always complained about that. Us girls would always talk about school(college) or work(school). A few husbands or single guys would come up and say, "All you ever talk about is work!"

    maybe that is too true..but afterall, that was what we had in common!
     
  17. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Mar 31, 2008

    If you have more than a corner of your table with school stuff on it, you are way overboard! I used to bring home papers, but now I try not to do that anymore. When schoolwork, collegework, and bills start mixing together, it ain't pretty! :unsure: Save your dining room table for dining!!!
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 31, 2008

    Actually in my experience guys talk about work and most women talk about home life and relationships. I'm not talking about teachers but in general. I also think it is age related or rather station related. I chose to do the home thing first and it consumed me. I enjoyed it most of the time. It is what I talked about. My kids are still growing up but now I'm doing the working thing so that is what consumes me and takes up my topics more often. It can also depend on who I am talking to. It used to be that my sister was single and career driven so I could talk about my kids but only so much. Now she has 3 kids she is taking care of and that consumes her so she can barely listen to anything work related from me before she has changed the subject.

    I think talking about teaching is fine. That's how we share and learn. My professor made a great comment tonight. She said that this profession is very reflective meaning that we have to stop and constantly assess how we are doing, what we could do better and what we can learn. The trick is not in the talking so much as the balance. I haven't learned that part yet so I can't offer advice there.
     
  19. BeccaK

    BeccaK Companion

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    Apr 1, 2008

    As a person who recently signed a contract as a first grade teacher this is something that I am terrified of! Right now I have almost no time for myself...let along my family. Student teaching has torn me into so many different directions that I am simply worn out and cannot spend as much time as I need to on my students needs. Rather I have to complete my college requirements (which mind you are mainly busy work...) I am to the point that I have decided that I can never let myself get to this point once I have completed my student teaching.
    I really want to give my teaching position my all...however, I can't keep neglecting my life. I have set aside "me time" that no matter what I am "supposed" to get done I ALWAYS make time for. It has relaxed me a little. However, I am still on the verge of freaking out...I have no clue what to expect and yet I cannot wait to get into my classroom and meet my students.
     
  20. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Apr 5, 2008


    1. breathe

    2. smile

    3. breathe

    5. breathe

    6. stop looking for #4!

    Seriously, you must take an hour, a day, a weekend for yourself. Life can go on without you, and you must believe that. There is nothing worse than coming home on Friday afternoon, to a sink full of dishes, laundry hamper overflowing, and bills on the table underneath junk mail that are unpaid and past due! And..thousands of emails that you did not answer. (yes, has happened to me, more times than I care to remember)

    At least one night a week, I treat myself to a nice dinner...not McDonald's!

    At least on weekend per month, I have breakfast too.

    I go to church, spend time with my family, and talk to my friends.

    And...I make sure I stay up to date, reading magazines, and watching the news.

    Don't worry too much about tomorrow....

    focus on today

    it is still here, you know! ;)
     
  21. ecross1983

    ecross1983 Rookie

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    Apr 5, 2008

    I tell people all the time if I am not at work, I am thinking about work...or doing things for work. I work 7-4. I always get to work about 5 minutes early or right at 7....and am there until 4:30 most days and sometimes even after that. One day I stayed until 5:30 and a few other girls stayed over and we just sat and talked about random things. Usually though, if I am staying late, that's my time to make copies for the next week or work on something...sometimes cleaning my room...My planning time while the kids take their nap, is usually spent trying to get a couple to lay down and rest still. So, we don't really get a good planning time.

    I truly care about my kids more than anything....I think it has a lot to do with me not having kids of my own...and when their parents send them to school sick, and I just want to hold them and take care of them like their mother SHOULD BE DOING!!! That annoys me more than anything about this job. When I was younger and sick...I WAS ALWAYS AT HOME, with my Mom! She always took care of me.

    I live to work...

    I used to work to live before this job.
     
  22. Starbks Junkie

    Starbks Junkie Rookie

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    Apr 13, 2008

    Wow. It's comforting to know there are other people facing the same situation as I am. This was my first year teaching and I was so excited for the possibilities. I was hired at a brand new charter school which boasted the title "collegiate." I really had high hopes that I would have motivated students who wanted to do well, go somewhere for college, and become something great. I wasn't naive enough to think I wouldn't have SOME laziness, but I definitely wasn't prepared for class averages of 45% - as the norm! I have been really depressed all year, as I am constantly re-evaluating myself and my methods. Every new beginning of a quarter marked a new chance to get my students to succeed ... and every time I have been disappointed. Before I graduated I spoke with my advisor about student apathy and how to overcome it. I didn't anticipate this thought pattern as an undergrad would be so prevalent in my everyday life. Like all of you, I spend hours upon hours planning for my classes. I try to make things exciting and creative, and even this doesn't work. I am to the point where I have a hard time putting forth effort knowing they won't appreciate or in return, GIVE effort. It's a constant battle deciding how much effort to give. I definitely only talk about school, and my husband gets frustrated.

    I'm really at a hard place...BUT I was just informed that I secured a new job in an 8th grade english classroom back in my hometown, so I am really excited about this. New year, new students, new school ... hopefully a renewed spirit!

    Good luck to all of you. :) The good news - we're almost done!!
     
  23. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Apr 13, 2008

    congrats starbks!! :)
     

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